This Ible describes the design and build of miniature tribute to the 70’s StarBird toy by MB. It mimics the original Starbird’s sound effects, which is an electronic “engine” noise that rises in pitch when the craft’s nose is tilted upwards and lowers when the nose is tilted downwards. It also has a button to fire two red “main cannons”, accompanied by a classic space gun sound.
Here's a video:
The project features a self-made tilt switch and a resistive touch switch. The sketch and the circuit are kept quite simple. The intention is to use it in "starships" built by children. At this stage it is a module built by me (requires some experience in cutting printed circuit boards and soldering) and a paper StarBird silhouette coloured by my youngest daughter aged 4 to make it into a "starship".
I’m still working on a version where the circuit is to be built in a workshop for children aged 6 to 12 (where soldering is not practical with 20 kids). I hope their parents will forgive when they bring this noisy toy home. However my version is not only smaller, but also less loud than the original one.
I’m also planning on making an even smaller one, based on a laser cut StarBird silhouette and a circuit made with Bare conductive ink or paint (something to share with my oldest daughter, Ibles member Tika.
Some words on how I came to doing this project:
When I was a kid MB created the StarBird especially for me ;-)
They even went through the trouble of making a box picturing a boy that looked just like me at that age. My parents offered me the StarBird and I played a lot with it. Later on, it became what was probably one of my first hacks, when I dismantled it to use the electronics in starship builds of my own. At some time, it became lost in space…
Last year I came across a StarBird in reasonably good shape at a good price and bought it for my youngest daughter. Not surprisingly my oldest daughter (and I) played with it too.
I wanted to build toys around the sound effect module again, but considered a vintage StarBird to precious to hack. When I recently picked up Arduino “making”, reproducing the StarBird sound effects became my first project.
When Ugifer’s Morse Throwie ible showed me how simple and cheap an ATtiny based circuit can be (THANK YOU UGIFER!), I started on planning to use them in my creative workshops for children. The StarBird light and sound effect again made the first project.
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English is not my native language, nor are electronics and programming my core competence, so please feel free to point out any mistakes.
Note: As we will be touching the bare wires when playing with the A(T)tiny StarBird, it is important to use lead free parts en solder (look for the "Rohs" label, which is about standard these days).
Parts and Materials::
an ATtiny 25, 45 or 85
an IC socket with 8 contacts
two 3 mm LEDs
a small piezo speaker (17mm diameter or smaller)
a 10mm steel ball
4 long connector pins (15 mm or longer)
two 100 Ohm resistors, ¼ W
three resistors around 10 MOhm (exact value is not critical)
a 3V coin battery (e.g. CR2032)
a battery holder for this battery
two pieces of prototyping printed circuit board, so called stripboard or “common bus” pattern (like this):
- one piece about 90 mm long and 13 mm wide (36 holes long, 5 wide, tracks in longitudinal direction).
- a smaller piece 13 mm wide and 15 mm long (6 holes long, 5 wide)
a small switch (preferably with angled pins for print mounting)
some clear heat shrink tubing, 1” nominal diameter, about 10 cm long
lead free solder for electronics
a soldering iron for electronics
3mm and 6mm drill bits and a drill (or Dremel style tool)
small cutting pliers
flat nosed pliers
a small sharp hobby knife
an Arduino, breadboard and jumper wires or other hard- en software to program ATtiny
a heat source to shrink the shrink tubing (hot air gun, paint stripper...)
a hacksaw and sanding paper or file to cut out and finish the circuit board
Whatever you like, for example paper, colour markers, scissors, (double sided) tape and a printer